I took the toddler I am watching to the playground this morning. I put him in the baby swing, and he immediately started to sing "naah nehh" in his sweet little voice. (His version of "nadned" the Hebrew song that kids associate with playing on a swing).
To the left of the playground is the elementary school in our settlement. The bell rang, and kids started to race out of the building for recess. The happy noise of a soccer game and jumprope chants added to the solo performance of my little swinger.
Our yishuv is situated in one of the hills in Samaria. On the hill directly north of us a contractor started to build a series of houses, but went bankrupt before they were completed. The result is a group of concrete shells, complete with openings for doors and windows. The army uses this area for combat training - as it is the perfect setting to practice fighting in a simulated urban environment.
This morning they were using it again, so the noises of "at-at-at-at" and muffled booms added some percussion to the other sounds I was hearing.
As if on cue, the muezzin in a nearby Arab village (another hill, northeast of us) started his musical call to prayer...
This wierd mixture of the sounds of children playing, soldiers training and the Arab call to prayer should have been disturbing. Strangely enough, it wasn't.
Listening to all of this together I couldn't help but think of what a unique place I live in and I felt suddenly elated. I was reminded once again of how fiercely I love both this country in general and my little piece of it in particular.